When we popped into the Museum of Sex last night for a preview of their new exhibit on erotic outsider art, we didn’t expect to find a discotheque on the premises. But there it was: An exhibit titled “Night Fever” has brought a massive Richard Long Audio System (the type used at Studio 54 and Paradise Garage) to MoSex’s bar space, and it’s absolutely killer. Back when we visited MoSex for Kayvon Zand’s sadly short-lived weekly, the bar had a fusty library look, with couches set between bookcases. But Jason Volenec, designer of atmospheric restaurants like Miss Lily’s and Tertulia, has given it a ‘70s vibe via silver-foiled walls (a la Warhol’s factory), disco balls, and swiveling glass coffee tables.
To inspire bargoers to boogie, the walls are lined with Bill Bernstein’s late-‘70s phots from legendary nightspots like Hurrah, Electric Circus, and Crisco Disco. Signage informs us that at Studio 54’s rival Xenon, “guys regularly received oral stimulation from women without hiding.” In addition, you can throw on some headphones and listen to expert recollections: Chic’s own Nile Rogers, for instance, helps tell the story of Studio 54 along with Madonna stylist Maripol and others. Hotelier and nightclub documentarian Eric Goode helps tell the story of GG’s Barnum Room, a self-declared “different disco” where trans trapeze artists served as “discobats.” It was “part disco, part circus, part cabaret and part sexual smorgasbord”—a formula that could well describe House of Yes.
Last night’s opening brought out Maripol, Gina Gershon, model Jessica Hart, and noted photo archivist Dr. Stanley B. Burns, among others. It’s uncertain whether there’ll be any foam parties at Night Fever before the exhibit closes February 19. The cans of Crisco above the bar seem to be mostly for display. But do try to make it there when the bar is operating, from 2pm to 10pm Sunday to Thursday, and till 1pm Friday and Saturday.
While you’re enjoying the playlist programmed by Studio 54 DJ Nicky Siano, you’ll also want to check out MoSex’s new exhibit, “Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outsider Art.” The show casts its eye on self-taught and unconventional artists, a couple of whom created their work inside of mental hospitals. Highlights include these works by Gil Batle, whose ostrich-egg carvings evoke his two decades in prison. These two eggs show cross-dressing prisoners, and a pimp helping a prostitute shoot up. Not exactly Fabergé material.
This mobile piece, “Rocking Bed Cunnilingus Whirligig,” was made by Steve Ashby, a former Virginia farmer who created many such contraptions by pasting magazine photos to plywood cutouts.
This double-penis dagger (artist unknown) belonged to one Rebecca, if the inscription on the leather case is any indicator.
You can read more about the exhibit and buy tickets over at MoSex’s website.